Creating the Creative Players

When studying the term creative, it is hard to pin point certain aspects that define the word. If I was to ask you to name ten things that a creative player should have in their skill set, it would be a struggle and the word ‘creativity’ would be used to describe it also. Despite this, creative has been defined as ‘risk-taking, playfulness, imaginative and intuitive in a particular domain’ (Williamson et al., 2021). When considering the four factors that Williamson states, it would be easy to find individuals that we all know fall into this bracket. An example may be Lionel Messi, who in my opinion, has all those traits within his game and the level of creative is of a noteworthy degree (Guilford,1950).

I believe that creativity is easier to implement into sessions, in the later stages of sport, such as over 16s and the professional game, as it requires more complex scenarios to challenge the thinking of an individual (Memmert, 2011). There are two forms of thinking that are related to creativity; convergent and divergent. Convergent thinking is often referred to as tactical intelligence. This considers the individuals overall problem solving skills when given a certain task (Cropley, 2006). When relating this to a sport, it could be anticipating a pass being played and intercepting it. Divergent thinking also said to be tactical creativity is defined as the level of unusualness, innovativeness or uniqueness of the solution making from an individual (Runco, 1991). An example of this would be a ‘no look pass’ as they are looking in a different direction to where they end up passing or throwing the ball in. Using football as an example, creativity is not just what a player can do when on the ball, it can also be the tactical awareness that they show as well as the work of the ball (Williamson et al., 2021).

Being creative suggests that some level of imagination has to be portrayed, which should then be transferable from coaches to players within training sessions. However, creative coaching must meet certain rules. One particular requirement is that it has to work and improve performance, otherwise it is not worth while doing. As well as this, there should be no limits or boundaries on the level of learning that can be completed, as it only becomes truly creative when there is nothing imposed to stop this. From a coaches perspective, applying creativity to sessions, involves questioning of the athletes they have present. Questioning can give a good gauge of the creativity levels simply from their answer. If it is a detailed answer rather than a one word answer, they are more engaged in the task. Divergent questioning is more appropriate, as it allows for greater levels of thinking, which intern should enhance the athletes understanding and involvement.

As an analyst, it would be important to add creative when delivering feedback to players. This is because it is more likely to help them process more complex information in a game like scenario, for example; ‘imagine you’re in this scenario on the pitch, what runs are you going to make in order to receive the ball and create a chance?’ This would then open up the conversation with the athlete, with hope that they would give their own ideas of how they would approach the scenario. However, as previously stated this approach would only work with certain athletes and would usually rely on the athlete to be more ‘gifted’ in order to perform more creatively (Memmert, 2006). An example of where this would not work, would be when working with younger age groups or less able elders. This would be pointless as hypothetical scenarios would mean nothing to them, due to them not being able to process that information and they would rely greater on being told exactly what they need to do.

Reference List

Cropley, A., 2006. In praise of convergent thinking. Creativity research journal18(3), pp.391-404.

Guilford, J.P., 1950. Creativity. American psychologist5(9).

Memmert D (2006) Developing creative thinking in a gifted sport enrichment program and the crucial role of attention processes. High Ability Studies 17: 101–115

Memmert, D., 2011. Sports and creativity. Encyclopedia of creativity2, pp.373-378.

Runco, M.A., 1991. Divergent thinking. Norwood, NJ: Ablex Publishing Corporation.

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